For ages now, I and others have been awaiting the voice of Danny O’Hare to appear in the national media, attacking the case for a university in the South East. It’s pretty sad really that somebody could be so predictable as to have people watching the papers and waiting for him but there you go.
Danny played his press card yesterday in the Irish Times and wrote an article about how there should be no more universities in the country. Going beyond that, Danny even went so far as to suggest that the NUI strategy was a mistake “we are never likely to be able to put the individual components of the National University of Ireland back into their original bottle” and that there should only be effectively only 4 universities in the country as a result, thereby undermining his own achievements of being a founding president of DCU, as surely less universities is better in his mind?
Danny touches on international standards, etc and warns about dilution such as that experienced in the UK but fails to acknowledge that countries such as Finland and New Zealand are on a par with Ireland in terms of population size, density and infrastructure-wise and these countries have around about the magic 8 universities which is more than Ireland. Danny then complains that his university friends are not voicing their opinions in the national media about this university case “What I find remarkable is the silence in the current debate of the existing universities.” I think Danny, that you will find your friends will not be so vocal, especially in NUI if they perceive that you are saying that they shouldn’t be universities. Danny also brings up the old chestnut of MIT being a great IoT; why does everyone forget that MIT receives more funding than the entire university sector in Ireland put together? MIT’s research funding alone, back in the 80’s was over $500 million.
While Dr. O’Hare goes a long way to trying to make a rational argument, it is lacking in detail, especially with throwaway international references which are not properly examined in the context and he also throws in the weak floodgate argument of constant me-too applications. While I would agree with the prevention of constant me-too applications from IoTs that do not have either a regional nor a properly grounded argument let there be no illusion about Dr. O’Hare’s motivation for this argument. He says, “Let us be in no doubt whatsoever that giving in to Waterford’s demands will not provide a place where the Government could stop the drift.” With no other reference to another IoT in this sentence Dr. O’Hare has placed his cards firmly on the table – it’s about Waterford and nowhere else. Now why would a former director of WRTC (now WIT) wish to take such a stance?
source: Irish Times